Austere



severe in manner or appearance; uncompromising; strict; forbidding:
an austere teacher.
rigorously self-disciplined and severely moral; ascetic; abstinent:
the austere quality of life in the convent.
grave; sober; solemn; serious:
an austere manner.
without excess, luxury, or ease; simple; limited; severe:
an austere life.
severely simple; without ornament:
austere writing.
lacking softness; hard:
an austere bed of straw.
rough to the taste; sour or harsh in flavor.
Contemporary Examples

“It looks spare and austere, but we spent 1,000 hours creating these,” Snoeren said.
Viktor & Rolf’s Return to Couture for Fall 2013: Going Zen Liza Foreman July 2, 2013

The architecture of the WPA had a very distinct, and very consistent, aesthetic: austere Art Deco, bordering on the monolithic.
Obama’s Building Boom: Will His Architecture Legacy Be as Lasting as FDR’s? Ian Volner January 3, 2011

Like Najwa, she eventually found the austere lifestyle too trying.
Osama bin Laden’s Loyal Harem David A. Graham May 9, 2011

It cuts across Christian denominations, from stern, austere sects to the signs-and-wonders culture of modern megachurches.
A Christian Plot for Domination? Michelle Goldberg August 14, 2011

His investment in the opinions that he so elegantly articulated never superseded the austere truth.
Christopher Hitchens Eulogized by Roya Hakakian Roya Hakakian December 15, 2011

Historical Examples

Quickly the light died out of his face, leaving it stern and austere.
In Kings’ Byways Stanley J. Weyman

“I have done with you, Herbert Jameson,” he said, with austere dignity.
Graham’s Magazine Vol XXXIII No. 2 August 1848 Various

A sinister, wrathful, and austere divinity who has no place in Triton’s city.
Tales From Jkai Mr Jkai

And yet it must not be thought that his was an austere and grave existence.
Sir William Herschel: His Life and Works Edward Singleton Holden

Very young—but austere, dignified, and strange, genuinely and effortlessly strange.
Christmas Roses and Other Stories Anne Douglas Sedgwick

adjective
stern or severe in attitude or manner: an austere schoolmaster
grave, sober, or serious: an austere expression
self-disciplined, abstemious, or ascetic: an austere life
severely simple or plain: an austere design
adj.

early 14c., from Old French austere (Modern French austère) and directly from Latin austerus “dry, harsh, sour, tart,” from Greek austeros “bitter, harsh,” especially “making the tongue dry” (originally used of fruits, wines), metaphorically “austere, harsh,” from PIE *saus- “dry” (cf. Greek auos “dry,” auein “to dry”). Use in English is figurative: “stern, severe, very simple.” Related: Austerely.

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